The Media & Girls
“They have ads of how you should dress and what you should look like and this and that, and then they say….’but respect people for what they choose to be like.’ Okay, so which do we do first?”-Kelsey, 16, quoted in Girl Talk. Although women are 49 per cent of humanity, female characters in the media take up only 32%. Why is there such a discrepancy of such a vast majority of the earths population? In America, an average girl will watch 5,000 hours of television, including 80,000 ads, before she starts kindergarten. The differences between commercials aimed at girls, are that boys are shown out of the house 85% of the time, while more than half of the commercials of girls depict them at home. The effects of the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) on girls has resulted in low self image, eating disorders, and a general desire for the unattainable beauty that they are raised watching. Media Awareness Network. Media Stereotyping. 10 May 2005. 23 August 2010 http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/index.cfm
Women, who are portrayed in the media fall into the common stereotypes of the sex kitten, the girl next door, the mother or the Femme fatale What does it take for women to be recognized outside of these common identities? Professor Caryl Rivers believes that politically active women, who fall out of these common stereotypes, are often “disparaged by the media.” Hillary Clinton as First Lady, was often referred to as a “witch” or “witchlike” 50 times in the press. Rivers says “male political figures may be called mean and nasty names, but those words don’t usually reflect supersition and dread……did the press ever call Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush, or Clinton warlocks?”. Gotz made a study, where he found that girls and women are motivated by love and romance and tend to be less independent than boys. Girls are also heavily stereotyped by their hair color….”blonds fall into two categories: the girl next door or the blond bitch, while redheads are always tomboys and heavily sexualized.
Magazines & Self Image
Magazines are the only media outlet where girls are over-represented. Despite this positive development, 70% of the editorial content focuses on beauty and fashion. 12% only talks about school and careers. Most of the advertisements depict women who have an unattainable beauty. A research group, called Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. reported that one in four college-aged women use unhealthy methods of weight control—fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, and self induced vomiting. Research indicates that 90% of women are dissatisfied with their appearance. Teen Magazine in 2003, reported that 35% of girls between 6 and 12 years of age have been on at least one diet. They also discovered that 50-70% of normal girls are convinced that they are overweight. On average, research shows that 90% of women are unhappy with their appearance. In its 1998 study Focus on Youth, the Canadian Council on Social Development made a study saying that boys “have confidence in themselves” during adolescence while girls drop “72 % in middle school to 55% in highschool” Media Awareness Network. Media and Girls. 10 May 2005. 23 August 2010 http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/stereotyping/women_and_girls/women_girls.cfm “Women are sold to the diet industry by the magazines we read and the television programs we watch, almost all of which make us feel anxious about our weight.” -Jean Kilbourne
- Face-to-face interaction between women politicians and local media in Constantine